www.synbio.org.uk

Synthetic Biology Resources at Cambridge

Compiled by Jim Haseloff at the University of Cambridge. SpannerPlantLogo140This site contains details of recent papers and activity in Synthetic Biology, with particular emphasis on: (i) development of standards in biology and DNA parts, (ii) microbial and (iii) plant systems, (iv) research and teaching in the field at the University of Cambridge, (v) hardware for scientific computing and instrumentation, (vi) tools for scientific productivity and collected miscellany.

Similar to the Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi and OpenLabTools initiatives, we promote the use of low cost and open source tools - in our case for use in biological engineering.

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Recent News

IMAGE A Mitochondrial DNA Transplant Could Help Treat Hundreds Of Diseases
Thursday, 08 January 2015
For the first time ever, researchers in New Zealand have shown that mitochondrial DNA can move between cells in an animal tumor. It's an extraordinary finding that could lead to an entirely new field of synthetic biology and the treatment of hundreds of diseases. Read more... Read More...
IMAGE Impossibly imaginative food landscapes. Warning: don't look if hungry.
Thursday, 08 January 2015
" 'Processed Views,' a photography series by Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman.   From the artists:   Processed Views interprets the frontier of industrial food production: the seductive and alarming intersection of nature and technology. As we move further away from the sources of our food, we... Read More...
IMAGE This tiny button could solve the IoT’s big headache
Thursday, 08 January 2015
Controlling your digital life from your smartphone, or even by voice, is great, but there are times when it'd be a whole lot more convenient to reach out and stab a physical button. That's the idea behind Flic, crowdfunding success from late last year, and here at CES to show off what you can do... Read More...
IMAGE Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a full Windows or Linux PC in an HDMI dongle
Thursday, 08 January 2015
Andrew Cunningham The Intel Compute Stick is a full PC in an HDMI dongle. 3 more images in gallery // LAS VEGAS, NEVADA—Set-top boxes and streaming sticks are decent, cost-effective ways to turn the TV you already have into a 'smart TV,' but Intel has an intriguing new option for those of you... Read More...
IMAGE A microbe found in a grassy field appears to contain a remarkably powerful antibiotic.
Thursday, 08 January 2015
A microbe found in a grassy field appears to contain a remarkably powerful antibiotic. Called teixobactin, it kills dangerous pathogens without any observable resistance (at least not yet). Moreover, it destroys many types of drug-resistant bacteria and it's safe in mammals. Its use may be limited,... Read More...
IMAGE To Save Our Ecosystems, Will We Have to Design Synthetic Creatures?
Wednesday, 07 January 2015
To Save Our Ecosystems, Will We Have to Design Synthetic Creatures?BY LIZ STINSON   Imagine someday in the distant future, years after the ‘sixth extinction’ went from theory to undeniable reality. Our ecosystems are failing, our biodiversity is dropping like flies (at least the ones that... Read More...
Synthetic Biology Market worth $5,630.4 Million by 2018 - Major Market Players - Amyris, Inc. (U.S.), DuPont (U.S.), GenScript USA Inc. (U.S.), Intrexon Corporation (U.S.) - WhaTech
Wednesday, 07 January 2015
Synthetic Biology Market worth $5,630.4 Million by 2018 - Major Market Players - Amyris, Inc. (U.S.), DuPont (U.S.), GenScript USA Inc. (U.S.), Intrexon Corporation (U.S.) WhaTech Channel: Industrial Market Research Reports The global synthetic biology market is segmented on the basis of tools,... Read More...
IMAGE 3 Tech Giants Quietly Investing in Synthetic Biology (ADSK, INTC, MSFT)
Wednesday, 07 January 2015
3 Tech Giants Quietly Investing in Synthetic Biology By Maxx Chatsko | More Articles January 7, 2015 | Comments (0) The introduction and widespread adoption of fun new gadgets, games, and services in the last 15 years has provided billions of dollars of revenues and profits to the technology... Read More...

Featured News

Progressive promoter element combinations classify conserved orthogonal plant circadian gene expression modules.
Friday, 29 August 2014
J R Soc Interface. 2014 Oct 6;11(99) Authors: Smieszek SP, Yang H, Paccanaro A, Devlin PF Abstract We aimed to test the proposal that progressive combinations of multiple promoter elements acting in concert may be responsible for the full range of phases observed in plant circadian output genes. In order to allow reliable selection of informative phase groupings of genes for our purpose,... Read More...
Preventing T7 RNA polymerase read-through transcription - a synthetic termination signal capable of improving bioprocess stability.
Friday, 29 August 2014
ACS Synth Biol. 2014 May 14; Authors: Mairhofer J, Wittwer A, Cserjan-Puschmann M, Striedner G Abstract The phage-derived T7 RNA polymerase is the most prominent orthogonal transcriptions system used in the field of synthetic biology. However, gene expression driven by T7 RNA polymerase is prone to read-through transcription due to contextuality of the T7 terminator. The native T7 terminator has... Read More...
Direct Mutagenesis of Thousands of Genomic Targets using Microarray-derived Oligonucleotides.
Friday, 29 August 2014
ACS Synth Biol. 2014 May 23; Authors: Bonde MT, Kosuri S, Genee HJ, Sarup-Lytzen K, Church GM, Sommer MO, Wang HH Abstract Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE) allows simultaneous mutagenesis of multiple target sites in bacterial genomes using short oligonucleotides. However, large-scale mutagenesis requires hundreds to thousands of unique oligos, which are costly to synthesize and... Read More...

14-Million-Year-Old Organisms?

By Mark Brown, Wired UK

After 20 years of drilling, a team of Russian researchers is close to breaching the prehistoric Lake Vostok, which has been trapped deep beneath Antarctica for the last 14 million years.

Vostok is the largest in a sub-glacial web of more than 200 lakes that are hidden 4 km beneath the ice. Some of the lakes formed when the continent was much warmer and still connected to Australia.

The lakes are rich in oxygen (making them oligotrophic), with levels of the element some 50 times higher than what would be found in your typical freshwater lake. The high gas concentration is thought to be because of the enormous weight and pressure of the continental ice cap.

If life exists in Vostok, it will have to be an extremophile — a life form that has adapted to survive in extreme environments. The organism would have to withstand high pressure, constant cold, low nutrient input, high oxygen concentration and an absence of sunlight.

The conditions in Lake Vostok are thought to be similar to the conditions on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus. In June, NASA probe Cassini found the best evidence yet for a massive saltwater reservoir beneath the icy surface of Enceladus. This all means that finding life in the inhospitable depths of Vostok would strengthen the case for life in the outer solar system.

Back on planet Earth, the team at Vostok are running short on time. Antarctica’s summer will soon end and the researchers need to leave their remote base while they still can. Temperatures will drop as low as -80C, grounding planes and trapping the team.

They missed their chance last year. “Time is short, however. It’s possible that the drillers won’t be able to reach the water before the end of the current Antarctic summer, and they’ll need to wait another year before the process can continue,” we wrote in January 2011. The drill halted in February.

Meanwhile, Russian engineers are planning to venture into the lake itself, with swimming robots. In the Antarctic summer of 2012 to 2013, they plan to send a robot into the lake to collect water samples and sediments from the bottom. An environmental assessment of the plan will be submitted at the Antarctic Treaty’s consultative meeting in May 2012.

Image: Wikipedia/NASA

Source: Wired.co.uk

Russian Drill Nears 14-Million-Year-Old Antarctic Lake

(Via Wired: Science.)

Research news at Cambridge University

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European Association of Students & Postdocs in Synthetic Biology (EUSynBioS)

EUSynBioSprelimLogo240The European Association of Students & Postdocs in Synthetic Biology (EUSynBioS) invites you to join its pre-launch community. The EUSynBioS initiative seeks to shape and foster a network of young researchers active the nascent scientific discipline of synthetic biology within the European Union by means of providing an integrative central resource for interaction and professional development.

Key objectives of EUSynBioS include i) the implementation of a central web platform for sharing news and opportunities relevant to members of the community as well as for academic networking, ii) the arrangement and support of events for academic exchange and professional development, iii) liaison with representatives of industry, and iv) establishment of a primary contact for collaboration and exchange with related communities of synthetic biology students and postdocs abroad.

Registering as a member is free and can be completed within 30 seconds via the following link http://www.eusynbios.org/students-and-postdocs/join Students and postdocs who register as a EUSynBioS member will be able to:
o Access a large network of young researchers in synthetic biology for academic collaboration and exchange
o Share technical resources and teaching materials
o Stay informed about relevant events such as conferences, workshops, or social outings o Browse relevant jobs in academia and industry
o Use site visits and mentoring opportunities to interact with prospective employers
o Connect with members of related communities all over the world

By registering as a member prior to the official launch of EUSynBioS, you will not only make a statement of support which will have an impact on the resources available to the community in the future; you will also be given the chance to actively shape EUSynBioS right from the start, and have an edge when applying for a position on the Steering Committee. We are looking forward to your joining us ! Christian Boehm, University of Cambridge.